Ricky Lawson's solo debut, taps this artist's roots and exceptional musicianship. With Lawson handling the tasks of producing, arranging, writing and performing, Ricky Lawson and Friends is a unique and engaging blend of R&B, pop and jazz. Ricky reunites not only the original members of the YellowJackets for the track blues club, but also the The Emotions for I will be Waiting for you. The CD also features the theme song for PLANET HOPE, a non profit organization founded by actress Sharon Stone and her sister Kelly, to promote jobs for homeless Americans.
Ricky was a member of the Yellowjackets. In 1977, Robben Ford assembled a group of veteran session musicians to record his album The Inside Story. The trio of musicians, which included keyboardist Russell Ferrante, bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Ricky Lawson, soon discovered a certain "chemistry" and musical affinity that led to their formation of Yellowjackets. The Inside Story being mainly instrumental, Robben Ford's record label wanted him to record another album that was more pop and vocal oriented. The group, known as the Robben Ford Group, preferred to pursue the instrumental route, and a "band within a band" was formed. This same group with Robben Ford on guitar recorded digital demos that were eventually accepted by Warner Brothers, and Yellowjackets was born. While Robben's contributions would diminish over the years to being a guest artist, the group known as Yellowjackets would flourish.
Their debut album Yellowjackets made serious waves in jazz radio, garnering public and critical acclaim. Mirage A Trois followed in its footsteps. While they went on a brief hiatus to pursue other projects, they reassembled in time for the 1984 Playboy Jazz Festival, adding percussionist Paulinho Da Costa and their new lead voice, sax man Marc Russo. This landmark concert paved the way for their eventual success both on the Billboard Jazz charts and concert venues around the world, and resulted in the third spicy Yellowjackets album Samurai Samba. 1986 saw the group moving over to MCA Records to record Shades, the title track being written by Donald Fagen (of Steely Dan fame) as a tribute to the many "shades" he heard in the group's music.
With their album Four Corners, Ricky Lawson departed to join Lionel Richie's touring band and was replaced by the versatile William Kennedy.
Ricky worked with Abraham Laboriel, Russell Ferrante, Freddie Washington, Kirk Whalum, Neil Stubenhaus, Gary Grant, Bill Reichenbach, Gerald Albright, Erik Zobler, Luis Conte, Robbie Buchanan, Bobby Lyle, John "J.R." Robinson, Barney Perkins, Michael Landau, Josie James and many more.
He performed with Anita Baker, Babyface, Chet Atkins, Roy Ayers, John Beasley, Michael Jackson, Bette Midler, Lionel Richie, Yolanda Adams, The Winans, Steely Dan, Boney James, James Ingram, Nathan East, Robben Ford, Vesta Williams, Phil Collins, George Duke, Sheila E., Al Jarreau and more.